If anything in your life goes wrong, just remember this: you were once a champion! And that’s how you were born.
A new study showed the journey a successful sperm has to go through and how they are able, against all odds, to propel themselves to the egg. "Every time someone tells me they are having a baby, I think it is one of the greatest miracles ever - but no-one realises," study author Dr Hermes Gadelha told BBC. For you to have a background on how amazing you are even before you were born, read further.
A man produces about 50 million to 150 million sperm during ejaculation. The journey of these mighty cells isn’t as easy as swimming in a pool; let’s say they go through a maze with a lot of traps and hurdles. Not to mention the fact that they’re so tiny! –by that I mean about 0.065mm in length. (But hey, we all went through that so…)
First, they have to survive the vagina- this is where most of them die (wait, just stage one?). If they’re good enough, they will be able to avoid the dead ends that come after such and reach the uterus. Those that do must then dodge lethal white blood cells that are ready to kill them. Sperm count? - From 150 million to just about ten or so.
Then, finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for- the time wherein these top ten arrive at the fallopian tube and races to the egg. Only the one true sperm can penetrate and fertilize it but in order to do that, an egg should be released at exactly the right time and welcome the winning sperm. That winner has been you!
It’s a dangerous journey that requires a lot of luck and an impressive swimming skill. But how did the sperm do that? Well, together with his team, Gadelha found an answer. They measured the rhythm of the cells’ head and tail as they swam and found that a simple mathematical formula can actually explain such. These cells specifically follow patterns similar to fields that form around magnets.
"The more we know about sperm the better. This might help infertility treatment in some small way but there are lots of other factors to consider too," Prof Allan Pacey, a sperm expert from the University of Sheffield, says.